Gympie misses out on urgently needed welfare housing

Rob Morris and Rhiannon Thompson have been ordered from their illegal campsite at Gympie's Six Mile Creek rest area.
Rob Morris and Rhiannon Thompson have been ordered from their illegal campsite at Gympie's Six Mile Creek rest area. Renee Pilcher

GOVERNMENTS of all kinds have never responded adequately to the Gympie region's housing shortage, according to the Queensland Housing Coalition.

Coalition executive officer Maria Leebeek described Gympie as "caught between the Sunshine Coast and areas to the north" when it came to housing assistance.

She was responding to news of a growing number of homeless people, some living in cars or tents.

Many were waiting on public housing or were suffering seriously unfortunate circumstances.

And Ms Leebeek says there is precious little here for those in desperate need.

"We've never had any increase in welfare or crisis accommodation in Gympie for years.

"Most people have to travel down to the Sunshine Coast or northwards to find accommodation.

"Gympie is caught in the middle.

"Our figures show there has been no significant support for more accommodation in your area forever.

"Unfortunately it's a problem that's always been there," she said.

"The authorities have never responded adequately."

She said her organisation's figures for the last quarter of 2012 showed median rents of $210 for a two-bedroom house, but about $350 for a two-bedroom townhouse and $430 for a three-bedroom townhouse.

"Townhouses are probably more expensive because they may be newer and have mod cons, including air-conditioning."

The Gympie Times yesterday reported on desperate families and individuals living in tents or vehicles, including in rest areas like Gympie's Six Mile facility.

Although welfare housing is available, waiting lists are often long.

A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said rest areas were a safety and convenience issue for drivers and were not intended for permanent residents.

Gympie Times

Topics:  community gympie public housing queensland government welfare

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